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How the Foundation works

The Foundation decided where it wished to create centres for teaching Chinese and then approached schools that it thought might be suitable to run them.

School selection criteria

We did not wish to be prescriptive as to what such centres looked like and how they operated, and accepted that there would be variation from centre to centre depending on local circumstances. We were open to creative and innovative ideas.

However, we looked for as many of the following attributes as possible from the hosting schools:

  • Commitment and enthusiasm of the head and support from the governors
  • Capability of management to run the project
  • Suitable physical resources
  • Experience in outreach and of working with local schools
  • Ability to reach secondary, primary and possibly nursery pupils
  • Capability to make Chinese a core-curriculum subject
  • Provision of in-house and external training schemes for teachers
  • Willingness to offer placements for trainee teachers of Chinese, studying for PGCE or similar

If schools were interested, we asked these schools to submit a formal proposal to the trustees, outlining how they would best run a centre. In exceptional circumstances, the trustees were willing to consider proposals put forward on a school’s own initiative.

Proposal assessment

In assessing proposals, we considered issues such as:

  • How many pupils and schools and in which years, would be reached and in what time frame
  • Level of funding required
  • What plans were there to bring the subject into the schools’ curriculum
  • How and when would the centre be sustained without external funding
  • How would logistical and timetabling issues be addressed
  • Potential for the project to raise the aspirations of pupils from deprived backgrounds
  • Staffing requirements
  • How and from where would teachers be recruited
  • Approach to pedagogy
  • How would Chinese be taught from an introductory level through to A level in a continuum
  • What assessment process (in house and public) would be in place
  • How would technology be used to support teaching
  • What plans were there for teachers and pupils to visit China
  • Proposed measures of success and targets

The Foundation has supported the creation of centres for teaching Chinese, and now helps to support their running by funding costs such as teachers’ salaries and training, pupils’ trips to China, administration and technology. We expect the schools and universities involved in the centres to become self-sufficient and aim to support them up to that point.

Mike McGarry – Associate Principal, The Belvedere Academy

“The Swire Chinese Language Foundation have been extremely supportive but at no time have they tried to impose a certain model of delivery nor have they been prescriptive in any way. Rather, they have encouraged us a Swire Centre to adopt an approach which is most suitable and that will work in our context.”